Panik Collective

THE PANIK COLLECTIVE is a team of credentialed painters, sculptors, musicians, mathematicians & curators dividing time among multiple exhibition projects and public actions.

As such their chosen medium changes to best accommodate the message, which has ranged from academic (Chicken Heart, a photographic and video piece produced for but ultimately censored from presentation at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana) to aloof (Marina Abramovic is Not Barbara Kruger produced on beer coasters). While these venues and projects are quite varied, and the mediums very different (silver gelatin photographs, audio and video manipulation, and dot matrix printing on found objects), themes of sexual and gender politics overlap, making it difficult to determine if there is an intentional subversion inherent to the collective’s manifesto.

In true guerilla style, they commandeered a vacant wall at the 2013 L.A. Art Show, where their ad hoc exhibition popped-up on the fair’s third day along with a hastily scrawled telephone number to entice curious would-be patrons. They hijacked a dozen bus bench ads in Los Angeles by printing a provocative hand gesture logo with their website address on the backs of paid advertisements for war movies and predatory lenders. They have perhaps most notably appropriated the work of blue chip appropriation artists –going so far as to produce a billboard for the piece, “Watching Richard Prince Do Instagram Is Like Watching Your Dad Try To Rap,” which utilized one of Prince’s poached Marlboro Men photographs through a sort of key-hole text underlay to a blank Instagram feed circa 2014. The quote is credited to artist Clayton Cubitt’s critique of Prince’s New Portraits series as quoted in the New Yorker (and aping an Instagram font), which conceptually brings the critic into the actual artwork. Both Richard Prince and Jerry Saltz retweeted images of it. Most of Panik Collective’s work is produced either publically or for institutions rather than for the traditional art market, but the largest subset of their oeuvre is fairly grounded in pop iconography. There are massive abstract-style interpretations of famous album covers, ceramic compact cassettes, installations with boomboxes, and old master studies obscured or rather constructed by popular song lyrics, which serve as windows to the imagery that provide another level of reference via the font choice.

Though anonymous, due to the nature of their clandestine and controversial public artworks, they have occasionally maintained a social media presence, but tend toward obscure platforms like Ello, while maintaining Private accounts elsewhere. In a rare interview in Flaunt Magazine, the group’s defacto leader explained that THE PANIK COLLECTIVE hails from several countries, with members from China, Japan and the United States. Between the various members, whose names all begin with “Panik” followed by a series of initials, there is an M.Arch from SCI-Arc, a BFA from Art Center, and several years of “stealth education” at Emerson CollegeUCLACal Arts, and Boston University. Their work has been showcased in the Houston Museum of Drawing, LACMA (as part of the At Home with Monsters exhibition curated by Guillermo del Toro), IndyMOCA, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, The Harwood Museum, LA Photo Contemporary, LA Art Show, The Queen Mary, The W Hotel, and at Trump International Hotel & Tower as part of the Indecline guerilla action, The People’s Prison, which transformed a hotel suite into a mock prison cell complete with paintings of dissidents on American flags and a caged Trump impersonator. On their flag, Panik Collective painted a portrait of Howard Zinn, gifting the painting to the Zinn Education Project shortly thereafter. 

The NFT Art Agency has entered into an agreement with the Panik Collective to exclusively represent several bodies of work, and in their provenance video they have committed to destroying whatever physical works they have in their possession in order to focus their practice entirely on art created specifically for virtual markets.

The following NFTs will soon be going to market.

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